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Interview: ‘The Final Revival of Opal & Nev’ is the Fictional Oral History You Have to Hear

'I always thought it was so cool, the way memories played with each other.'
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  • The Final Revival of Opal & Nev
  • 'I always thought it was so cool, the way memories played with each other.'

Publisher's Summary

2022 FICTION AUDIE AWARD WINNER!

An electrifying novel about the meteoric rise of an iconic interracial rock duo in the 1970s, their sensational breakup, and the dark secrets unearthed when they try to reunite decades later for one last tour.

A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BUZZ PICK
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF 2021 BY BARACK OBAMA * THE WASHINGTON POST * NPR * ESQUIRE * ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY * GOODREADS * THE MILLIONS * READER’S DIGEST * PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER * EERIE READER * PUBLIC RADIO TULSA * CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY * KIRKUS REVIEWS

“Feels truer and more mesmerizing than some true stories. It’s a packed time capsule that doubles as a stick of dynamite.” —THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Opal is a fiercely independent young woman pushing against the grain in her style and attitude, Afro-punk before that term existed. Coming of age in Detroit, she can’t imagine settling for a 9-to-5 job—despite her unusual looks, Opal believes she can be a star. So when the aspiring British singer/songwriter Neville Charles discovers her at a bar’s amateur night, she takes him up on his offer to make rock music together for the fledgling Rivington Records.

In early seventies New York City, just as she’s finding her niche as part of a flamboyant and funky creative scene, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal’s bold protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially black women, who dare to speak their truth.

Decades later, as Opal considers a 2016 reunion with Nev, music journalist S. Sunny Shelton seizes the chance to curate an oral history about her idols. Sunny thought she knew most of the stories leading up to the cult duo’s most politicized chapter. But as her interviews dig deeper, a nasty new allegation from an unexpected source threatens to blow up everything.

Provocative and chilling, The Final Revival of Opal & Nev features a backup chorus of unforgettable voices, a heroine the likes of which we’ve not seen in storytelling, and a daring structure, and introduces a bold new voice in contemporary fiction.

©2021 Dawnie Walton. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Featured Article: Hit the Open Highway with the Best Road Trip Listens to Hear This Summer


In theory, any audiobook, audio performance, or podcast can be listened to in the car, but it takes more than great storytelling to be the right fit for every type of road trip. What works for a cross-country adventure may not be quite right for a quick day trip. What you listen to with your significant other may not be (read: is definitely not) the same as what you listen to with a carload of kids. No matter what kind of journey you have coming up, we’ve got you covered.

What listeners say about The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Outstanding and timely

I almost gave up on this. The start was slow and I wasn’t crazy about the interview format. I kept listening because my daughter told me it was the best book she’d heard in a very long time. She is absolutely right. This book and the narrators are seriously good. I even came to appreciate the format. It’s well worth a credit.

10 people found this helpful

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My favorite audio book I've listened to!

The story is absolutely captivating- Opal & Nev are so seamlessly sewn into the rock & roll scene that you forget they are a fictional band. The full cast is fantastic, & the story brought up so many great points about racial injustice & white privilege & saviors. A definite must read!

5 people found this helpful

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As good as advertised

This the single best audiobook I have listened to all year and I have heard more than 100 already. The narration in this full cast production is picture perfect, while the story is both timely and captivating. I give this 5/5 stars.

3 people found this helpful

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Hard to believe this is fiction

Although I found it difficult to stay present for every word (occasionally the content seemed.unnecessarily detailed),this is an awesome story that I repeatedly had to remind myself was fiction. The format was unique and engaging, and the performance was superb! I am so glad I chose the audio version and I highly recommend it to others.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing!!!

Absolutely loved this book from start to finish! Listened while I read along. All narrators were excellent!

3 people found this helpful

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Incredible, relevant, powerful storytelling

The storytelling, the brilliant layering of culturally relevant history with the riveting fictional characters, the generational intrigue, the way she can describe music and performance so clearly you feel like you’re watching it…all of this makes this story (and particularly the Audible performances) something you won’t want to put down.

2 people found this helpful

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Can't wait for greatest hits release!

wonderfully entertaining. well written and the narrators were excellent. love the detail given to Opal's "amor". don't want to write more, fearing I'll soil the read for others

2 people found this helpful

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Rock n roll Epic

If you love music, especially the popular music of the late 20th Century, this one's for you. A clear-eyed examination of the good and bad of this time. What a great story! (First time I enjoyed a multi-reader cast. Well done.)

1 person found this helpful

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Wow. Just wow.

This book was not like anything I expected. I wanted more. I want more of opal. The weaving of true and fiction was magical. It was so real I kept wanting to go to Spotify and look Opal up.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CJ
  • 02-16-22

Epic

This story/documentary needs to be a movie. I desperately wanted it to be a true story but I found out it wasn’t.

1 person found this helpful